This weekend sees the third and final indoor track and field championship of 2020; it’s time for our young athletes to make their mark in either a heptathlon (U17 men) or pentathlon (U17 women, U15).
While it is common for these championships to be a first stepping stone for our under 15 athletes, and provide a bit of an unknown pre-event, about a quarter of the 50+ entrants in the girls’ event return for their second year in the age group. In addition, some have already competed in last month’s Scottish Open Age Group Combined Events championships, and also made their mark at our individual Age Group championships recently. As is often the case, the women’s events are very popular. This year they were hugely over-subscribed and a waiting list had to be set up.
U15 girls' pentathlon
The first sprint hurdles of the U15 girls’ pentathlon should set a blistering start, with the three fastest hurdlers on paper likely to make an impact on the final overall points results. Sophie Lisk (Cardiff Archers, Phil Warwicker) was 4th overall last year and will be aiming for a podium position; she’s well placed – with a bronze in the England individual hurdles, Welsh gold for indoor high jump and currently Welsh indoor pentathlon champion (held last November). Jenna Hilditch (Victoria Park Glasgow, Moira Jordan) took bronze recently at the U17 Scottish High Jump championships against older athletes, is the current U15 Scottish indoor hurdles champion. Amy Wall (Southampton AC, Andrew Fisher) and Alice Wilson (Team Bath AC, Julie Alexander) will be adding England in the race to the top of the points chart. Very evenly matched on paper, these two athletes have almost identical PBS for high jump, long jump and shot put, but the final 800m is high scoring at this age and a few seconds can make a big difference in points. Amy is the current English long jump champion and has plenty of previous pentathlon experience, while Alice is the silver medallist in December’s Southern indoor pentathlon where she scored exactly 3000 points.
U15 boys' pentathlon
With the English indoor champions at long jump (Dant'e Clarke), and 800m (Reef Page) entered, there looks to be some exciting U15 action throughout Sunday! However, the high jump is likely to be the highlight in this competition with Dant'e Clarke (Herne Hill Harriers, Anthony Mayhew) heading the PBs with 1.75m, local lad Josh Boyer (Doncaster AC, John Blackshaw) and Morgan White (Sale Harriers Manchester, Matthew Cullen) aiming beyond 1.62m and Daniel Martin (Giffnock North AC, Symon Lipp) having cleared 1.65 in both December and January. Reef Page (Invicta East Kent AC, Jacob Burton) could upset final standings in the last event, with a PB of 2.05 and an individual 800m gold under his belt. Already a good all-rounder, it looks like Morgan White is setting himself up nicely for the U17 heptathlon next year - already having won the U15 pole vault last month which can earn good points in an indoor heptathlon, and coming second at the Scottish National U15 pentathlon in February. He was pipped to the title by Daniel Martin who is also the Scottish 60m hurdles and long jump champion and will certainly be one to watch this weekend.
U17 women's pentathlon
The U17 women’s pentathlon has 55 athletes entered, with over 30 of those returning for a second year of competition. Ella Rush (Amber Valley and Erewash AC, Michael Baker, Joe McColgan, Martin Bishell) was 2nd last year outdoors but also holds individual indoor gold for the long jump, bronze for high jump and 6th in the shot put. Also entered is last year’s outdoor U15 pentathlon champion Erin Lobley (Hallamshire Harriers Sheffield, Joe Frost) who also recently took gold at both the English and Scottish individual shot put. Seren Rodgers (Taunton AC, Steve Shaw) took bronze at last year’s U15 pentathlon and since then has also won three outdoor silvers at this event – how will the slightly different hurdles spacing affect her U17 performance? Also one to watch is Lucy Robinson (Stockport T&F, Joe Frost) who scored 3437 points in January’s England U20 pentathlon and was 5th last year in our U17 event.
U17 men's heptathlon
With a 30% increase in entries from last year, there’s certainly strength in depth for the U17 men’s heptathlon, taking place over Saturday and Sunday. Sammy Ball (Reading AC, Mike Dyer) beat the record last year as an under 15 – what can he do in the under 17 age group? He already has the biggest PB in the high jump (1.86m) and shot put (11.60m), but there will be competition from athletes across Britain: Aidan Brindley (North Ayrshire Athletics Club, Colin Sinclair, Brian Donaldson) and Alister Mackay (Inverness Harriers, Duncan Flockhart) took the one-two at the Scottish indoor heptathlon and are both in their second year of the age group. Add to the mix the Welsh 60m hurdles champion Oliver D'Rozario (Taunton AC, Steve Shaw) who equals Sammy’s high jump height, and not far off the shot put and long jump distances - but is untested in the pole vault. Jake Minshull (Coventry Godiva Harriers, Paul Harrison, Eamonn Kelly) also moves up an age group, having previously been ranked number 2 at the U15 pentathlon, but is also the England outdoor 800m champion which could change all the positions right at the end of the weekend. Sam Coupland (Southport Waterloo AC, Graham Pilkington) has last year’s heptathlon experience, has cleared 1.85 in the high jump, 3.15 in the pole vault, and holds a number of Northern individual golds. He’s also the 2019 England Athletics U17 decathlon bronze medallist. Let the battle commence!
Entry is by programme purchase on the door (£2)
First event timings: Saturday
U17 women's pentathlon: 10.30 - 60m hurdles (then high jump, shot, long jump, 800m)
U17 men's heptathlon: 11.00 - 60m (then long jump, shot, high jump)
U11 and U13 events start 12.00
U15 girls' pentathlon: 10.30 - 60m hurdles (then long jump, shot, high jump, 800m)
U15 boys' pentathlon: 10.45 - 60m hurdles (then long jump, high jump, shot, 800m)
U17 men's heptathlon: 11.00 - 60m hurdles (then pole vault, 1000m)